COVID 19: THE FALL OF VENUS

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Every age is punctuated with pivotal moments that change everything. For the 21st century, this has been the spring of 2020; a time when the world stopped spinning in solidarity to protect itself from an invisible enemy.

The artwork 'Fall of Venus' has been re-fashioned to include face masks of China, America, India and Japan. Facemark symbolism will be used in all sort of ways in our future storytelling, be it in literature, theatre, or paintings. The world slowed down, we caught up with ourselves, and the game of cat and mouse was halted indefinitely. It is anyone's guess how altered our reality will be when we exit from this phenomenon.

In this contemporary interpretation of Sandro Boticelli’s original work, Ketna Patel has turned inside out and upside down all the embedded metaphors.

Venus has been replaced by the symbol of the modern free world; the statue of liberty. On closer inspection, one can see that she is in tatters, with the torch no longer an uplifting beacon to the world, but lying limp and unlit. The symbolism here is potent but obvious. Capitalistic driven Democracy is in trouble, and ‘Freedom’ is for sale! She stands on the same shell as the one Boticelli painted, except that this now represents the petroleum company ‘SHELL’, with its yellow and red paint leaking into the ocean. In the background is a familiar outline of polluting industry, billowing out pink smoke that looks pretty, but is in fact very toxic! The pollution has killed so much. There are now dead birds in the ocean, and the once fertile land is now barren.

The ‘Fall of Venus’ was digitally painted in a Singapore studio 526 years after Sandro Boticelli painted the ‘Birth of Venus’. In these five centuries, there has been tremendous advancement in science, health, etc. However, unregulated capitalism and short term political perspectives disguised as democracy have harmed us greatly. ‘Wealth’ is not being percolated down through the system, and large amounts of it remain hoarded like black holes in our foodchain. Ketna deliberately painted this artwork in painstaking digital detail, as she wanted it to look beautiful and perfect, a bit like our ‘plastic world’ full of plastic aspirations and plastic people. From far, the painting looks like an enticing dessert, with colours that beckon. However, the narrative embedded shows the darkness within.

From the heavens fall money and roses. When we all recover from COVID 19, it will be up to us what we choose as our symbols of human beauty.